War of the Bottle Caps
by
Illustration by Iñigo Navarro Dávila

I write only with my index finger. The other four are bandaged. The guy who invented child-resistant packaging must also own a Band-Aid company. I woke up with a severe headache and I hadn’t even read the papers yet. I tried to get to my headache pills. After reading the instructions for unlocking the cap, I understood: squeeze, turn the bottle over, turn left, lift one leg, push, wink, shake the bottle, turn right, call your doctor immediately to report the fracture of all the fingers.

These pills are definitely the real deal. A quarter of an hour ago I had a terrible headache, like having Nancy Pelosi babbling inside my skull, and now all I can think about is the pain in my hand. I wholeheartedly hope the people responsible for these pill bottle caps have tax inspectors for children, or that they get their PIN numbers wrong three times, or that while on a walk in the woods they get eaten by lions … lions that have previously been bitten by a mosquito carrying malaria.

I went through a phase of trying to open safety caps by looking away distracted, only to pounce on them quickly, giving them a short, sharp flick of the wrist. The idea was to catch the cap by surprise.

When I was a child, the only precautionary measure medicine bottles came with was a warning that advised you to “store out of reach of children.” It was printed on a big sticker in thick white letters. I remember spending whole afternoons coloring them in with crayons. Later, in my teens, some products that were supposedly dangerous to children, such as sticks of dynamite, bleach, or bottles of psychotropic drugs, began to incorporate safety caps. Surprisingly, socialist educators continued to come with normal caps.

In those first child deterrence measures, all you had to do was remove a small tab from the bottle. That was easily done if you didn’t mind breaking a nail or, if you preferred, with the help of a screwdriver, that would inevitably end up gouging your arm. In any case, it could always be solved with RMS (Raw Male Strength), that technique which, when under the scrutinizing watch of your fellow peers, takes full advantage of your pride to make the lid turn before your face, already red, turns purple and you go into cardiorespiratory arrest with a jar of marmalade grasped tightly in your hands, which must be the saddest way to go into cardiac arrest. I always carry an axe in my pocket in case I have a heart attack opening the jam, so at least the ambulance guy who picks me up off the kitchen floor might think I was hiking, which, as everyone knows, is typically done with a jam jar in your hand.

For a time I would open safety caps with my mouth. I stopped the day they did an ultrasound to rule out a possible psychological pregnancy, and they found 15 bottle caps from my anti-anxiety pills, as well as 50 beer bottle caps and the keys to two troubled ex-girlfriends’ apartments. I also went through a phase of trying to open safety caps by looking away distracted, only to pounce on them quickly, giving them a short, sharp flick of the wrist. The idea was to catch the cap by surprise. But these guys are fast. And they hang on to the bottle like a Democrat clings to a stupid hashtag on Twitter.

I’m actually all for safety caps on cleaning products. It discourages you from high-risk activities, like scrubbing the kitchen, cleaning the toilet, or putting polish in the dishwasher. When visitors’ shoes get stuck to the floor, I just shrug and explain that I can’t open the cleaning products. One day a friend’s boyfriend tried to get into my kitchen by means of RMS but was attacked by a flock of umbrellas. The next day he broke up with my friend. We had a big party to forget about that sourpuss. My friends seem to feel a strange attraction to psychopaths who think it’s their right to open the safety caps on cleaning products in other people’s homes. I wonder in which zoo they learned their manners. You know what Oscar Wilde said: “The world was my oyster, but I used the wrong fork.”

As I look back, I realize that my life is what happened while I was trying to learn how to handle a child-proof cap and some manufacturer was designing a new model that was even harder to open. But I’m done with that. I’m a writer now. I take every legal drug possible, simultaneously. My job is to open pill bottles against the clock, while I am faced with perennial insomnia, hangovers that keep me bedridden, or I need something to relieve my conjunctivitis. I can’t waste my time opening anti-writer bottle caps while my career goes to hell. I refuse to give that pleasure to those who are trying to silence the conservative media.

Today, as I write this, my lawyer sits tied to the table leg. He checks every sentence. Every once in a while I throw him a bone. And I can assure you that the safety caps used in the market today are unconstitutional, harmful to our freedom, injurious to our health, and cause public disorder. They fulfill all possible casus belli: they attack the citizens, unauthorized they block access to other people’s products, they are hostile, they’re in direct violation of various conventions, including the Geneva Convention, and the consequences against humanity are as devastating and indiscriminate as any other terrorist act. For all these reasons, with the law on my side, in this dark hour of history, I am hereby authorized and directed to employ my entire naval and military forces, including knives, teeth, corkscrews, and the economic ideas of Bernie Sanders to carry on war against against them,.

As a first step I have just opened anti-mosquito ointment with an axe. I do not know if the ointment will be effective, but the mosquito that saw me hacking away at the table with bloodshot eyes has desisted in its intent to bite me and has just handed me a draft of the Treaty of Versailles. This is just the beginning. The cap makers, as Churchill told Chamberlain, were given a choice between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. Now they will have war.

Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music or smart appliances. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, the Federalist, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an advisor to the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website www.itxudiaz.com.

Translated by Joel Dalmau

Illustration by Iñigo Navarro Dávila

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